Think twice before cutting trees knocked down by last week’s severe weather.

Multiple locations in the area still have some trees leaning or broken, and it could be tempting to take care of that on your own. But Matt Betz of Davey Certified Arborists urges everyone to be careful before making any decisions about tree damage in and around their property.

“It’s not something a layman should try to address, just because there’s so many different factors even on our end,” he said. “There’s trees, they look fine, but they may just have fallen into a neighboring tree and a homeowner thinks they can go out there and cut it down, but there can be different pressure points to where something can come loose when you don’t expect it to, and if you’re not trained and prepared to know what to look for, you can put yourself in a precarious situation.”

An EF-2 tornado touched down on Lane Street and an EF-0 developed on Old Salisbury-Concord Road on Feb. 6, and there are still a significant number of trees either leaning, broken in half or uprooted in and around the east side of Cabarrus County.

Volunteers have been helping around the area, cutting up fallen trees with a chain saw or simply picking up branches and moving them out of roads. People should always be cautious when picking up debris and take note of any live power lines and the like that can be dangerous.

The cleaning up of trees is no different. People should always be cautious. And in a lot of cases, a fallen tree could cause no immediate problem at all.

“If you’ve got a wooded lot, a tree that’s in the woods that you’re not back in there that often, you know, it’s not going to be as high a priority as the tree that is leaning towards the house that could come in contact with the house, car, people, anything like that,” Betz said. “So it’s situational, just based on the tree, where it is, if it’s an area that you’re at frequently and then just kind of making a determination from that point forward.”

Betz said in the aftermath of a situation like what happened Feb. 6 to always check in the canopies of trees to make sure there are no branches that could cause problems, either for someone walking near it or simply a branch that could fall and block a roadway.

Simply put, it is best to be aware of any kind of problems on your property, and if a situation does come up that seems problematic, contact a professional if help is needed. That applies to preventive measures as well.

“A lot of the trees that have fallen either had root systems that were already compromised from decay, or they may have already been dead,” he said. “So a lot of folks see a dead tree and it’s like, ‘Well, we’ll wait until next month to deal with it,’ but sometimes there isn’t a next month, so looking toward the future, just keep an eye on your trees, keep an eye on your root system, have a certified arborist come on out and assess the property and, to the best of the homeowner’s ability, try to heed their advice.”

There are several things you can look out for when it comes to caring for trees that may have been damaged in the storm or could be a problem in a future one.

Seven signs your tree needs attention

» Deadwood: Dead trees and branches can fall at any time. Look for leafless branches when others have plenty of green leaves. Another sign of deadwood is old bark that has mostly fallen and hasn’t been replaced with new bark — instead there is only smooth wood underneath.

» Cracks: Storms can cause branches to twist, bend and crack. Check for deep splits in the bark that extend into the wood of the tree, or internal or external cavities.

» Decay: Soft wood or cavities where wood is missing are a sign of decay. In time, decay will continue to cause structural problems.

» Weak branch unions: When two or more branches intersect on the same trunk, a weak union is created. The bark can’t hold the branches together, and the upper side of the branch is unable to secure itself to the trunk.

» Broken Limbs: Assess the crown of a damaged tree to check for large, broken limbs. Proper pruning thins the tree canopy, allowing wind to blow through it instead of against it as though it were a sail.

» Root problems: High winds can cause trees to rock, even causing the severing of roots in some cases. Check to see if a tree is leaning to tell if it’s been affected. Wilting is also an obvious sign a tree’s roots are damaged.

» Poor tree architecture: This is characterized by excessive leaning of the tree, or branches growing out of proportion with the rest of the tree crown. Odd growth patterns may indicate general weakness or structural imbalance.

If you have any questions about a tree on your property, you can contact your local arborist or look up Betz and Davey Certified Arborists at